Getting to the finish line at graduation while maintaining efficiency at the workplace is a tall order for anyone. For many students, working while in school is imperative for paying bills and maintaining the cost of living. As a college student, balancing the weight of school and work can be challenging but not impossible with the right tools. Learn tips to be more effective at balancing your priorities while taking care of yourself.
Take Care of You First and Foremost
Work and school are critical. Your grades in class and your connections in the business world will give you more opportunities. However, to be present and perform as your best self, you need to engage in essential self-care regularly. The best way to ensure these activities are routinely completed is to schedule them into your day.
- Showering or bathing
- Eating nourishing meals
- Restful sleep
- 30 minutes of movement daily
- Journaling for progress
- Deep breathing
- Relaxation, even if limited
Be Mindful To Create Balance
As you create time in your schedule to build your best self, you can also use journaling to measure the efficacy of your balancing act. As you plan schedules and other obligations, be sure that you are at least close to balancing your needs, school obligations, and work demands.
Whether you have to work more to pay for your schooling or you have access to student loans, your work schedule may be a little heavier than your class schedule at times. Understanding how your schedule can ebb and flow is part of learning about flexibility and achieving balance as progress.
You can accurately check your balancing act by creating a pie chart for your week. Look back at your previous week’s schedule to calculate how much time you spent on each activity. For the week ahead, be mindful of ways to better spend your time for a more consistent approach to your responsibilities.
Utilize Digital Planners and Alerts
Tight scheduling and robust planning is the hallmark of students that must work while in college. Anyone who tells you that it builds character has likely not experienced the juggling act you are performing and quickly relegate any criticism they offer to the bottom of the wastebasket.
The best advice that working professionals have to give students is based on developing above-average time management skills. If you are in your first semester or two of doing double duty, you are likely just now feeling the first few stings of not being able to get everything done. If you are in a graduate program, you have since found plenty of time-saving shortcuts and tips to schedule your obligations better, hopefully.
No matter your class, digital planners and alerts can make all the difference in how your day goes. If you routinely schedule all of your engagements, class hours, and work shifts on a digital calendar, those scheduling notifications are available to you even if something happens to your phone or computer. Effective scheduling is simply knowing when and where to be.
Carefully Budget When School Is In
Even if you do have access to student loans, consulting with a financial aid officer will ensure that you make the wisest decisions about how much money to take to cover your tuition and expenses. While more money seems like less work now, it will likely take longer and be more frustrating in the long run unless you secure grants or scholarships.
Rather than take the entire amount available to you, carefully budget and plan for the number of hours you need to work to make ends meet while attending classes and maintaining your sanity and security.
While reflecting on this year, consider what felt good or too frustrating and exhausting. Think of alternative solutions to improve the balance in your life for next year. As you continue to progress, so long as you make time to meet your own basic needs, strive for balance, and carefully plan and budget, you will be effective and fully present at each obligation.